Any parties using drones for Covid-19 surveillance must still obtain CAAM approval

Azril Annuar
A screenshot of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) website.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 ― Any drone operations in Malaysia, including for the purpose of surveillance and broadcasting must require the authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).

In a press statement today, it gave a stern reminder that all UAS/drone operators must comply with Regulation 140-44 of the Malaysian Civil Aviation Regulations 2016 (MCAR) even under the Covid-19 pandemic movement control order (MCO).

“All drone operators shall acquire an “authorisation” from CAAM before operating a drone even during this unfortunate period of the COVID-19 outbreak. This regulation applies to ALL UAS/DRONE OPERATORS including surveillance, broadcasting, commercial, recreational and other activities.

“CAAM would like to stress that if UAS/drone operation is carried out without authorisation of CAAM, it may cause a hazard to other airspace users and endanger public safety due to the nature of UAS/drone operation,” said the statement.

Similarly, it also added that any drones carrying dangerous goods such as biological samples by air are bound by the MCAR Regulations 132 and 133 where operators are required to apply for a dangerous goods permit.

The governing body warned that the transportation of dangerous goods without a proper review from CAAM may result in an accident and endanger public safety.

Under the law, the penalty for both offences ― operating a drone without approval or transporting dangerous materials without approval ― includes a minimum of RM50,000 and/or 3 years of imprisonment for an individual or a fine not exceeding RM 100,000 for a corporate body, if found liable.

On Monday, during an interview with RTM1 the Armed Forces Chief Tan Sri Affendi Buang said that the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) will use drone and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology to monitor compliance of the MCO.

On Tuesday, he had told a press conference that the military will be making full use of technology to monitor the situation from the air, adding that the drones can also be a deterrent to those who remain stubborn.

He said the police have already started using the drones and sent units to various locations, including beyond Kuala Lumpur.

Application form for authorisation to operate UAS/drone can be downloaded from CAAM website.

For more information on the procedure and requirement, those interested can visit: http://www.caam.gov.my/sectors-divisions/flight-operations/unmanned-aircraftsystem-uas/

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